To the Other Side of the House (Issue 1011)

In which we are reminded to, from time to time, look more broadly at our clients’ situations.

Thursday night, about 10:30 PM. Returning to my home in the city from a late night at my office in the ‘burbs, I turned my car into the driveway on the left side of our house. I slid out of the car, grabbed my bag, and let myself into the house through the driveway side door.

My first priority was food – I love to eat when I return home. So, I grabbed some grub and then remembered that my wife (out of town for a few days) had asked me to move her car off the street that evening so that it would not be ticketed and towed when the city street-cleaning police came around on Friday morning.

So, I grabbed her car keys and headed out the front door of the house to the street. As I turned left to walk the few yards to her car, I heard a sharp, even hissing sound to my left. I looked down the side of the house. Seeing little because of the darkness, I thought, “I wonder what that is.”

I turned my head a little and listened. It was a sound similar to the hissing of air under pressure emerging from an air hose. Or the hiss of white water pounding over rocks in a mountain stream. Or the sound of water coming out of a garden hose under high pressure into some mulch.

“Oh, my goodness,” I thought. “That IS the sound of water coming out of a garden hose, and it’s our water, and it’s our garden hose! YIKES!”

I stepped from the sidewalk into the dark, mulch-covered, shrub-filled side yard and took a few steps toward the faucet so I could shut off the water. Five steps into the yard, half way to the faucet, my feet sank up to my ankles in water. The side yard was almost completely flooded – an oozy, mushy, mulchy, soggy swamp. So much for my shoes…

With a few more steps….through the water gushing and spraying from the hose…. I reached the side of the house and shut off the water.

“That was pretty lucky,” I thought as I squished back to the sidewalk. I rarely go to that side of the house, never mind routinely inspecting the garden hoses. Who thinks garden hoses will just…fail…like that? Had my wife not asked me to move her car, it could’ve gushed like that all night or for days.

When we’re working with clients, it’s good from time to time to break from our usual entry points and “walk around the other side of the house”. If we don’t, we can miss hissing breakdowns or mushy emergent problems that our clients may not have recognized, heard, or shared with us.

Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at .

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